Sunday, August 30, 2009

Proof He's in Brazil

I received an email tonight confirming that Jordan arrived (along with all the other missionaries for his District) in Brazil. It looks like they are all excited to be there.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Van Moves Again - It's a Miracle

After my disastrous attempt to fix the Villager van transmission, I can now say that it is again moving. Over a period of about a week I worked at replacing the solenoid control pack on my Mercury Villager transmission. Not being an adept car mechanic, I took things slowly and researched on the internet. I finally disassembled and re-assembled the parts of the transmission necessary to replace the solenoids. I was too proud of myself too early. I put new transmission fluid in and started the car up. The engine started right up and purred like an almost new car. However, the transmission would not engage. I could move through the gears, but nothing. It was as if it wasn't there. I stewed over this for a couple of days and tried some trouble shooting from the top side of the engine. But I knew deep inside that I was going to have to remove those same parts and once again bath in transmission fluid. This afternoon (after running my five miles - well, almost running and it was 4.75 miles) I dove back into the transmission. I removed the pan and in evaluating the solenoid pack I realized that I had failed to engage a control arm and piston when I had replaced the valve housing. So later this evening, after re-installing the valve housing with the control arm engaged. I again, put everything back together and poured the transmission fluid in. The car started right up and, yes, it moved. However, before I become to boastful of my mechanical prowess, I appeared to have put a stop one bolt too far to the right and now I don't have park. The gear furthest to the left is now reverse. I have to start the car in neutral. But, it did run and it did shift much smoother. I guess I will have to bath one last time in transmission fluid and remove the pan to adjust the block.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Elder Jordan Gibby

From August 2009

President Lawrence, Elder Jordan Gibby, Bishop Fivas

From August 2009

Grandma, Mom, Elder Gibby, Dad, Jonathan and Grandpa

Elder Jordan Gibby became an official missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the evening of August 24, 2009. He left on the plane for Sao Paulo, Brazil the next morning. I am finally past the initial grieving stage so I can write about it without breaking down. I assume that he made it safely to Brazil since I haven't heard anything to the contrary. Hopefully in a few days he will get an email address and give us notice that he is loving life in Brazil.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jared Wednesday Update - 08/26/09

Pic #30 is of me lying in the middle of Sis. McGlauphlins lawn. I mowed the entire thing with her push mower and bagged it too. Elder Deets was running the weed wacker. The heat was a killer!!

#24 is a picture of our district. From left to right; Elder Harris, Williams, Me, Floyd, Deets, and Dorr. We are a sweet district. It's a lot of fun.

This last one was pretty funny. We were walking outside to get the phone, we left it in the car, and I saw this little toad outside of our door. You know what they say if you kiss a toad right? haha

Jared had the opportunity to go down to Birmingham to a temple session. "Well, last Wednesday we had the opportunity to go to the temple. It was a wonderful experience. The Birmingham temple has been really busy since the Atlanta temple closed in the beginning of July. Apparently they are doing some reconstruction on the Atlanta temple and earthquake proofing it so we are getting a lot of people from Georgia coming over. Luckily every third Wednesday they have a special missionary session at 1:30. However, most of the missionaries go to the 10:00 AM session so they can have time to do their other pday activities. Brother Haslam, a member of the Oxford branch who actually served his mission here about 6-8 years ago, took us to the temple."

He taught a district training meeting, "Friday I had my DDM training. It went really well. I did my training based off of Lehi’s final words to his sons when he told them to “Be MEN” from 2 Nephi 1:14-24. I talked mostly about three points that can help us be better men of God; obedience, unity, and righteousness. It ended up being a really awesome training. I used some talks from Henry B. Eyring and D. Todd Christofferson. I concluded with what the Savior said when his disciples asked Him what manner of men they ought to be and then answered, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27; 18:24) It was a great DDM and afterwards we went out to Cracker Barrel to eat. Boo yaaa, I love that place. Haha."

He is staying busy and very positive. It is hard to believe that he is coming up on his 16 month anniversary. Christmas will be here before we know it and then it will be only 4 months until he comes home. WOW!

Elder Jordan Gibby Departs as Scheduled

Yesterday was a very emotional day. We saw Elder Jordan Gibby off at the airport. We arrived at about 9:00 am for his 12:00 noon flight. We got him checked in without too many hitches (and his bags were within the weight limits - yeah!!). There was one other Elder there to fly out with him. Elder Keller from Draper. They are going to the same mission, so we know who he will be flying home with at the end of his mission (although we will probably be going down to pick him up). After some pictures and goodbyes he went through security (which had short lines at that time in the morning) and we with Elder Keller up to the gate area. I am glad that he had another Elder with him to help him find his gates. Jordan hasn't ever been very good with direction and I just kept seeing him get lost trying to find the right gate. He had about a two hour wait until they would board his flight to Dallas. In Dallas they had a four hour layover before boarding the 10 hour flight to Sao Paulo. He should have arrived there at about 4:30 am (Utah time) or 7:30 am (Sao Paulo time). Since we didn't hear anything from the missionary department or the Sao Paulo MTC we are to assume that he arrived safe and sound. I am anxious to hear from him or somebody down there just to confirm it. I found some pictures on line of the MTC that I borrowed so anybody interested could see where he is.

Front of the MTC (or CMT as it is referred to)

CMT Courtyard

Article about the opening of the CMT

A view of Sao Paulo from the top of the CMT

The CMT cafeteria

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Old Spaghetti Factory

From 2009-08-22 001

From 2009-08-22 001

It is just to hard to let Jordan leave on his mission so we keep trying to drown our sorrow in food. Last night we at heartily at Tucanos at Gateway in Salt Lake city. It was a Brazilian Churrascos (Bar-B-Que) restaurant. I ate enough to last the entire weekend. Tonight we met Britney, her mother, brother and room mate at the Old Spaghetti Factory at Trolley Square for dinner. It was fun to eat and chat. Britney's mother was bringing her brother up to attend school in Provo. So her parents are experiencing to a certain degree what we are with two children out of the house. I think Jordan is about at the point where I was just before I left on my mission where you just want to get on the plane and go. I guess next week after he leaves we will start drowning our sorrow at gym instead of the restaurant (or I will have to buy a new ward drobe - and they won't carry my size at Walmart).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jordan's Missionary Farewell

From 2009-08-16 001

I know that I'm not supposed to use the "farewell" word. But missionary farewells have been part of the culture I grew up with for too long. So call it what you may, it was his missionary farewell this past Sunday. I was truly surprised by how many people were in attendance. He had invited a large group of friends from the community and school and most of them showed up. We also had Sherrie's Aunt and Uncle from Pocatello, my parents, sibilings and their families. Our best friends, the Farnsworth's, came down from Idaho Falls. It was great to have everybody together for this exciting ocassion.

Jordan did a fantastic job on his talk. He used the Rubiks Cube as an analogy for the Atonement. He started with a Rubiks cube in the solved states and stated that is how we come to earth - in a perfect state. Then through the fall we get mixed up - he had the Bishop scramble the Rubiks Cube. He then used steps of Atonement to show how each step brings us closer to At-One-Ment while use brought the Rubiks Cube back to it's initial perfect state. I was truly amazed at his poise and presentation. This is a kid who never wanted to talk in church and stood at the pulpit and spoke as if he has been doing it his whole life. I sat there as the proud father, teary-eyed through the whole talk. He actually spoke for so long that they scrapped the rest hymn.

After Sacrament Meeting we went back to the house and had hamburgers and salads. Sherrie had made enough salads to feed an army (which is about what we had). Jordan's friend, Stefen, brought over the Cotton Candy machine which was an absolute hit. I enjoyed visiting with Sherrie's Aunt Sonja and Uncle Sheryl. Because I was cooking burgers for most of the time, I didn't get as many pictures as I had hoped for, but I ended up with some good ones. It is hard to believe that it was just a little over a year ago that we did this for Jared. My how the time flies. I am excited and meloncholy at the same time for Jordan to fly to Brazil. I know this will be a great adventure for him. But I also know that he will come back a mature young adult and I will be another child closer to being an empty nester.

Jared Wednesday Update - 09/19/09

This is the world's biggest office chair. It's pretty crazy. Back in the day people were able to go and sit up on it but now with insurance reasons they aren't able anymore.

Last week we went to the driving range and hit a couple of buckets of balls. It was a lot of fun. I ended up getting a blister on the palm of my hand. Oh well, We had a blast.

I received Jared's letter early this morning. They apparently get to go to the Birmingham Temple today so letters had to go out earlier than usual. He is again working his area very hard. He writes, "Thursday night we played ball up at the church. It’s pretty sweet. Apparently I can jump like a black guy. Haha." I guess he never saw the movie White Men Can't Jump.

On a more serious note, "Yesterday we were having an alright day and had a pretty surprising experience at lunch. We went to Dad’s BBQ for lunch. MMmmmm it was great. I love the southern BBQ. It’s so much better than out west!! Our waitress asked us if we could pray for her. I said, 'Sure, we’ll do that.' Then she said that she wants to start going back to church. I’m like, 'Well, how about you come up to our church?' She’s like, 'Alright, I just need a ride.' I’m like, 'No problem, we can do that.' Then she said, 'I haven’t been baptized.' That kinda struck me off guard, first of all almost everyone in the south has been baptized at least once, and nobody really says that to people so I was surprised. I told her, 'Well, you know that Christ taught that in order to go to heaven you need to be baptized?' She’s like, 'Can I get baptized this Sunday?' I told her, 'Well…., you can’t get baptized this Sunday. Since baptism is a sacred thing you can’t just rush into it. What we do is we teach people four lesson to help them prepare for baptism and strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ, How about September 5th?' With much enthusiasm she’s like, 'YES!!' Then she wrote it down on her little notebook and was super excited. I’ve never had an experience like that before so I’m pretty excited about it. Cassandra is her name and she’ll be coming to church this Sunday as well as one of her co workers Queshona. I’m excited!!!"

He is also working with several other families and a couple of youth. I am proud to see the success he is experiencing in his new area.

Salt Lake Temple - Modern Art Version

From 2009-08-15 001

From 2009-08-15 001

From 2009-08-15 001

Jared made Britney a replica of the Salt Lake Temple out of popcicle sticks. Britney had sent him a package with things she enjoyed as a child which included the popcicle sticks and colored pens. Jared even engineered a removal roof so that he could put a message inside and it would provide greater utility as a storage box. I remember my Grandma Taylor had a storage box that always sat on her dresser made out of popcicle sticks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jared Wednesday Update - 08/12/09

I am sitting here realizing that tomorrow is Wednesday again and I haven't posted the update from Jared for last Wednesday. I am making great headway in receiving the bad dad of the year award.

Jared's header for his weekly email pretty much sums it all up, "Hot and Humid!" That is what I remember from both Tennessee and Oklahoma. In August (and part of July and September) is was just plain hot and humid. You never feel dry. I used to long for the "dry" heat of the west. Now I don't really the like the dry heat either. After surviving another summer in Utah I don't know how I ever tolerated the humid heat of the south. Well, enough about me.

Jared and his companion made a deal with a woman they met that if they attended her church she would attend theirs. Well, they kept their end of the deal and rode their bikes about 10 miles to find out that she had duped them and her church service was the next night. It's that good southern hospitality - they don't want to be rude so they just tell a small white lie to get rid of you. I guess he learned that lesson. He and his companion also met up with some interesting people. It is hard to go from an area where you have built up your teaching pool and are experiencing a lot of success to an area where you have to start all over again.

Jared has been out 468 days and is approximately 64.1% complete. Just a few more days and he will be at the 2/3 mark. He sent Jordan a very nice tie for his farewell (which Jordan wore). I will post another blog about Jordan's farewell as soon as I get the pictures off my camera.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Where Has All My Time Gone

I haven't written much in the past couple of weeks. It seems as if all my time has been consumed by other activities (well, I guess in fact is has because all time is consumed). I have spent time rebuilding a fence in the back yard and trying to keep my lawn and gardens alive with the terrific heat. Tonight, a week after I completed rebuilding a portion of the fence, my neighbor who shares the fence thanked me and said that it looked good. It had been held up by braces in the yard (and mine until I put my lawn in and tore them down) for the past three years. Tonight they were actually out in their yard cleaning things up. I heard many years ago that if you want you neighbors to fix up their property start with yours. If I can get them to clean up their backyard then it will leave me with only one bad yard that neighbors mine. My how my life has progressed. When I was young and newly wed, I lived in a country club neighborhood where a number of the residents petitioned the home owner's association to require garbage pickup from behind the home so that garbage cans were never placed on the street. Now I live in a neighborhood where 75% of the residents don't even had a yard in. Oh well, I will just keep working on mine and rebuilding the fences so that I don't have to see theirs. At work I spent the last week doing hard labor. Well, it wasn't as hard as the young kids that regularly work in that area of the plant, but it was a lot more physically demanding than anything I have done at work in years (other than climb the stack a few months ago - but that was one time). I lugged 50 lb bags of salt around; pulled 1500 degree, glowing red lances from molten salt; replaced chlorine gas lines; crawled around in the bowels of the plant. It was very educational and I have more respect for the people who do those jobs every day. But I certainly am glad that I don't do those things every day for a living. Last night I had to repair a flat tire on the suburban. I still need to complete the transmission repairs on the van. I have been trying to decide if I want to participate in the cash for clunkers program. I have four cars that quality (lucky me). But, I really don't want a car payment so I will probably perform the needed repairs on the cars I have and try to nurse them along for at least a couple more years. If I can just make it until Jared and Jordan get back from their missions I will be in a better position to acquire a new clunker. I really should get to bed and get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be another very busy day getting everything ready for Jordan's farewell on Sunday. I had planned to do a few things tonight, but I was just too tired, so after dinner I just sat in the back yard for a couple of hours, then watched part of a movie with Jonathan (it was too tiring to sit and watch it all) so I decided to update my blog and go to bed. I guess I can say that I have updated it so now I will sign off and get some much needed sleep.

Heidi and Janelle Visit

From 2009-08-05 001
Sherrie's sister, Heidi, and her daughter, Janelle, visited us on their way to EFY in Rexburg. Sherrie and Sarah were able to spend a fun day shopping and visiting some of the Temple Square facilities with Heidi and Janelle. That evening they were able to all go swimming at the hotel pool. Sherrie and Sarah did run into a little difficulty in getting home. The hotel was on the west end of North Temple and is was the night they had the first out by the airport. Because the GPS kept trying to take them out North Temple to I-80 West, I had to get on the cell phone with them and talk them through an alternate route home. They did finally make it home. It was nice to have family visit and Sarah had a great time with her cousin.

Middle Canyon Hike

Last Sunday after church I was feeling a little cabin feverish. We decided to go for a walk up in the mountains. Jordan had recently hiked a trail up Middle Canyon which is only a few miles from our house. Jordan, Jonathan, Sherrie and I headed up to the top of Middle Canyon where we parked and found three trail heads (none of which were the trail Jordan had been telling us about). We chose the trail to the left which wound along the edge of Butterfield Canyon. It was a beautiful trail through pine forest with an abundance of wild flowers. We found a trail that headed up towards to the top of the peak. We climbed as far as two middle-aged parents can and let Jordan and Jonathan go further. They found the trail narrowed significantly and was embedded in stinging nettle. Jordan had experienced stinging nettle just a few days prior and didn't want to repeat the experience. We followed the main trail further along the side of the canyon until we were about half way tired out. It was a beautiful walk and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon together as a family.

Britney's Short Visit

From 2009-08-16 phone pics
We were able to visit with Britney for a few hours this past week. We took her to the airport to fly home to visit her family on Tuesday. I had been working in the Reactor Building (yes, I am officially a Reactor Rat now) and I was so worn out. I am twice as old, and twice as fat as the young guys working in the Reactor Building. I had to train as a operator in the event the union votes to strike. So, anyway, after my first full day in the Reactor(and breathing too much chlorine and hydrogen chloride) I was really feeling under the weather. I wasn't even sure I would be able to walk from the car into the airport. Well, I forced myself to, and I think that it helped clear my lungs (all that coughing too and from the terminal). Britney has been going to school year round. I admire her determination and work ethic. We were happy that she was able to go home and spend time with her family in Phoenix.

The Time Draws Near

From 2009-08-16 phone pics
We are getting closer every day to Jordan's departure date. A couple of weeks ago he made the trip to Mr. Mac's where his mother made sure that he was properly outfitted for two years in Brazil. She even bought him the nice, expensive tracting shoes (they are worth more than a couple of our cars). He's worn his suits and beautiful ties to church on the last two Sundays and he definitely looks like a well outfitted Elder. Today he received his travel package in the mail. He has his VISA and plane ticket so I guess that means that everything is now a go and he will be on a plane heading to South America in just a few days. WOW, this summer has certainly gone by fast. I am starting to feel emotional about having another child leave home where I will have limited contact for two years. I guess the first few months are the hardest until I adapt. I just don't feel old enough to have so many children leaving home. I am excited for him to start this chapter of his life, however.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jared Wednesday Update - 08/05/09

Elder Deets and I picked up some sweet suits at the local thrift store. I got my three piecer for $10. Elder Deets' "pimp suit" was $8! We decided to try them on and see what they looked like. Pretty sweet hu? haha

Here it is Wednesday again already! Wow, this last week just flew past. I imagine at this point that Jared's mission feels like it is flying past. I remember being on that downhill slope before I knew it I was flying home. He has been out 455 days which equates to just over 63% complete. Just a few more weeks and it will be 1/3 left to go. Well, so much for my statistical evaluation of his mission completion.

This week Jared writes, "Well, this week has been very exciting. We have been working super hard nonstop. Sunday we were able to see some fruit come forth from our labors. We had a family come to church. We had seen them the day before, Saturday, on a team up, and they said that they would love to come to church. The only problem is they are a latino family. Carina is from Mexico and her husband is from Honduras. They have a 10 year old boy as well. She brought her sister too with her two children. It was great. Carina knows English pretty well. Her husband and sister don’t know very much. We are going to go over there this Thursday with Bro. Dewsnup, the Elder’s quorum president, so that he can translate for us. He served his mission in Argentina. They really enjoyed church and I think that the next time we each them we are going to try and commit them to Baptism. They are our most promising investigators so far. I’m really excited about it since I’ve only been here for not even two weeks."

He was able to listen to Elder Cornish, an Area Seventy, at a multi-zone conference. Summer is in full swing, "The work continues to press on. I’m lovin it. It’s really hot down here and the humidity is around 100%. It doesn’t seem as hot as last year though."

Jared continues to do a great job and maintain a superb attitude.